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Policies & Procedures Governing Challenges to LSAT Questions

As sponsor of the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) is committed to assuring that every LSAT form meets rigorous standards of quality and fairness. In order to achieve this goal, each test question is subjected to a multilevel review process before it is ever used on an LSAT form. LSAT questions are written by test-question-writing experts both outside LSAC and in LSAC Test Development. Each new question undergoes a careful review by LSAC staff and by independent experts outside LSAC to ensure that it

  1. is clear and unambiguous,
  2. has one and only one best answer, where the best answer is the one among the choices provided that most accurately and most completely answers the question that is posed, and
  3. meets the LSAC standards for fairness and sensitivity.

Questions that meet the strenuous LSAC review criteria are assembled into pretest sections. Pretest sections are administered to a sample of test takers from the LSAT test-taking population. Results from the pretest provide test development staff with statistical information about each question, and with information about possibly ambiguous or misleading information in the question or in one or more of the answer choices. If problems are identified, either the question is discarded or it is revised and pretested again. All questions that pass the quality standards of a pretest administration are placed in the LSAT test question item bank. New test sections are assembled by selecting questions from this LSAT item bank. Each fully assembled test section is administered on one or more separate occasions for the purpose of pre-equating the new form. Pre-equating is a statistical method used to adjust for minor fluctuations in the difficulty of different test forms so that a test taker is neither advantaged nor disadvantaged by the particular form that is given. Following each pre-equating administration, the statistical information about each question is reviewed to ensure that the question is of appropriate difficulty, discriminates higher-ability test takers from lower-ability test takers, is unambiguous, and has a single best answer. When the test is given at a regular LSAT administration, but before final scoring is completed, statistical analysis is conducted one last time. Each question is evaluated using the same criteria that were applied following the pretesting and pre-equating administrations. If a problem is found, the question is eliminated from the test before final scoring and reporting are accomplished.

Despite these precautions, on rare occasions, an error or ambiguity may be found in a test question by a test taker. If the test taker demonstrates that the test question does not have one and only one best answer among the choices provided, corrective action is taken.

A candidate who has taken the LSAT and who believes that a test question does not have one and only one best answer is entitled to have the question reviewed if, within 10 days after the candidates LSAT test date, they file with LSAC an initial written inquiry about, or challenge to the question, stating and supporting the reasons why the question should not be scored.

Challenge Procedure

Upon receipt of an initial written inquiry about, or challenge to, a test question, and explanation of why the candidate feels the question should not be scored, the LSAC test development staff will conduct an expeditious and thorough review of the inquiry or challenge, and, upon completion of the review, will respond in writing to the candidate. The written response will state the decision reached by LSAC concerning the candidates inquiry or challenge. Please note that because LSAT test material is confidential, LSAC cannot discuss specific characteristics of test questions. However, we are committed to ensuring that our review will be fair and objective.